The Denver Outlaws went through the entire Major League Lacrosse regular season undefeated, becoming the first team to finish 14-0 in the league’s history. An issue with the team has been its performance in MLL Championship Weekend, losing multiple semifinal games in the last five years. That trend would continue as the Charlotte Hounds ended the dream of the first perfect season in MLL history.
Charlotte is only in its second year of existence in the MLL and finished at 7-7 this season. A clear multi-goal underdog heading into Championship Weekend, the Hounds were able to win their first semifinal game and will advance to take on the winner of the second semifinal game.
A great start paved the way for Charlotte, outscoring Denver 8-2 in the first quarter. Mike Sawyer led the way with four goals (one 2-point goal), and had 5-7 shots on goal.
Despite the Hounds having 22 shots off goal as a team, they had plenty of more possessions on offense taking 22-32 face offs and winning the ground ball battle 48-31.
The Outlaws made it interesting with a five-goal run beginning in the middle of the third quarter, but the Hounds answered with a three-goal run of their own to pout the dagger in.
Hounds goalie Ghitelman saved 17 of 31 shots on goal, allowing one less than Outlaws goalie Jesse Schwartzman. Schwartzman’s day can’t be described in the box score, battling hard throughout the game and was even a part of a scrum late in the game after his helmet was taken off.
Despite the effort, Denver loses its fourth semifinal in the last five years. Charlotte will advance to take on the winner of the second semifinal between the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Hamilton Nationals.